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Broken Snail Thoughts…


Cats broke the porcelain snail. I gathered the shards to reassemble. The shards themselves gave no clue to their earlier form. They did not exist independently in the first place. It is tedious to match the pieces, join them and bring the snail back to life! I flip and turn several pieces trying to find a match. It is frustrating. Suddenly one piece fits. Then another and another. There are still several more left to fit. But gradually they begin to fall into place and voila! the snail is back in shape, albeit with a multitude of cracks. The initial frustration turns to exhilaration and a sense of achievement.

This got me thinking about other pursuits in life. The bits and pieces of experience that do not have any apparent relation fitting into place imperceptibly, taking shape through the course of time without us being aware of it. Perhaps at the end of life, they will fall into place and furnish a meaning that could not be fathomed from the independent and unrelated experiences that we undergo.

Of course, in case of the snail, I knew what I was aiming for. I knew its form, I knew the end result. In life, I have only a hazy idea of the form at best.

A related phenomenon…
If I had come across broken bits of the snail without knowing what they were part of, and if the pieces did not have any distinguishing features, I could never have made out what they were part of. But some pieces carry more information than the others – for example a piece of the snail’s head would have immediately provided a lot more information about the original. It is easy to correlate pieces which are recognizable – which fit into pre-existing forms inside me. Pieces that do not fit any pattern stumps us.

I guess it must be the same with experiences. The ones that we cannot fit into any category are likely to be considered bizarre. So what should be one’s aim – to try to gather as many experiences as possible so that we have more patterns in our mind? That does not make much sense since there are myriad experiences and we cannot pursue them all. Can we choose to elaborate those experiences that we are inclined to, towards which we feel affinity? That way, though there is no end in sight, the experiences would fit into a pattern which in the end forms the tapestry which one finds meaningful!!! The final pattern would be inherent in the interpretation that we chose to give our experiences.

I’m confused – but then confusion is the beginning of enlightenment, if such a thing exists… I believe so, that’s what mending the snail has taught me…

Categories: Musings
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